Moisturize and Make Music
brooke williams writer, blogger, activist, and musician
If you’re a New Yorker, you might’ve caught a glimpse of Brooke Williams at one time or another and thought, My god, how can a person be so stylish and beautiful? The blogger, mom, activist, and musician might have simply been walking along the street or even working on a shoot for the OG Domino magazine years ago. Beyond New York, you might have seen her in Washington at the 2017 Women’s March (she was a national organizer for it); or getting out the vote with the Demo Crew, which she helps run; or on her gorgeous blog and Instagram, This Is Authentic. Or you might have heard her: Williams is heavily involved with the Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective of more than sixty female and nonbinary singers who breathe joy and song into the resistance and uplift and center women’s voices (they have a new album out, This Joy, on both Apple and Spotify, and it rules). She also writes and records under the name The New Black and has recorded and performed with many bands, from the Silver Apples to the Beastie Boys.
Williams has always looked younger than her numeric age. “When I was a kid, I hated it!” she says. “But my mother assured me that one day I’d be happy about it—and that I’d be glad to be taller than most of the boys—and it turns out she was right. My parents also look very youthful; no one ever guesses that they are both in their eighties. Fingers crossed I keep up this particular family tradition.” Beyond some stellar genes, Williams credits good sleep, great skin care, and a great state of mind for her youthful energy. “Our inner state has such a strong influence on how we appear to the outside world,” she says. “I feel most beautiful when I’m deeply immersed in a project, performing with people I love, or participating in meaningful civil action.” Her advice for aging beautifully is both practical and super inspiring.
My mother was always obsessed with moisturizer and used to chase me around when I was little, slathering me with lotion, warning that if I let up, I’d look like a prune when I was forty. And my father drinks two tall glasses of water every morning and is always trying to get the whole family to follow suit. So much about physically aging is our skin drying up, so I think a healthy obsession with moisturizing (both inside and out) was a great gift passed down from my folks.
At night, before bed, I like a nice layer of GOOPGENES cream on my face and neck to keep the hydration party going all night. And I rub my feet with Goe oil to keep them feeling soft (since the pandemic has robbed me of my regular pedicures).
And at the end of every shower, I cover my entire body in organic coconut oil (from the grocery store). Believe it or not, I then also use body lotion before I get dressed. I was thrilled to recently discover Sangre de Fruta’s Garden of Earthly Delights lotion, which goes on like cashmere and smells slightly of cedar and sandalwood. (The scent of cedar is thought to promote a sense of well-being—the Japanese take forest baths or long walks in the woods to de-stress.) My only problem with this lotion is my thirteen year-old daughter likes it so much that she keeps stealing it from me.
When I’m getting enough sleep, I feel invincible. My skin glows, my eyes are bright, my memory is sharp, and my reflexes are quick. Everything is better after a good night’s rest. So many things affect how we sleep—and it’s something that is very much in our power to improve: I try to go to bed at the same time every night, wear a sleep mask, stay away from screens for the last hour or so before bed, and switch my mobile to airplane mode at night (I’m super old-school and still have a landline with a rotary phone). Taking a nice hot bath before bed and staying in there for as long as I can is the best prelude to a beautiful night’s sleep, and the goop “Martini” bath might well be the best soak I’ve ever had).
There’s a Whoopi Goldberg quote I read once: “Listen, the best advice on aging is this: What’s the alternative? The alternative, of course, is death. And that’s a lot of shit to deal with. So I’m happy to deal with menopause. I’ll take it.” Totally no-nonsense and so true. We need to face reality and continue to move forward with strength and purpose (and good moisturizer). I make sure to eat as naturally and locally as possible and take my vitamins—thank you to goop’s Madame Ovary for making it simple and putting everything I need into a daily packet of supplements.
I do this probably once a week (I’d do it more frequently, but I always forget) with the awesome GOOPGLOW Microderm exfoliator. I’d been searching for a good exfoliator, and I really like how gentle yet thorough the Microderm is.
I also cleanse morning and evening with Red Flower’s Yuzu Mimosa Sea Algae wash. I’ve been using the line for years—it’s sooooo great.
Focus on Your Eyes
This might be the one legit “mature woman” thing I do, but I swear I can actually feel the skin around my eyes lapping up the moisture when I dab on my GOOPGENES eye cream. It works really well under my moisturizer and even serum.
I rarely wear makeup—in the before times, I used to put on some lipstick and be done. But now, with wearing masks in public, it’s all about the eyes. I’m no good at eye shadow, but I love Westman Atelier Eye Love You mascara, which thickens and defines my lashes without any of the sketch chemicals you often find in eye makeup. My lashes are thin, so they need all the help they can get.
I also put a little smear of Egyptian Magic balm on my lids to add a little shine—like a super subtle glitter. I feel kind of like an undercover fairy when I wear it, and who doesn’t want to feel that way?
Meditate and Exercise
In my heart, I am practicing yoga daily and sitting on a meditation cushion every morning and evening. In reality, I am fast-walking to the store and tuning in to my own breathing for ten minutes in the mornings. But hey, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and daily movement and meditation of any amount done regularly can profoundly improve our sense of well-being.
And let’s be honest: We’re living through pretty insane times. Every day feels like a new hurricane is hitting. So I’ve been working really hard to find quiet moments to be grateful for my family, for a good book, for the feeling of the sunlight on my face. Just taking time out to remember the beauty and miracle of being human can really make a difference in how I feel.
My COVID-Related Essentials
Because we’re washing our hands like a thousand times a day, I carry a tube of Farmacie Lavender Clary Sage hand lotion in my bag. I also carry Noshinku’s Bergamot hand sanitizer. Its spray bottle is the shape and size of a bar of hotel soap, so it’s easy to slip into your pocket, and it’s much better for my skin than the huge bottles you find at the door at the supermarket. I’m also a huge herbal tea drinker—I rarely skip my cup of elderberry tea, which supports the immune system and tastes fruity and delicious. And another godsend over these past few months has been this amazing pedicure file. I use it every day in the shower and my feet are looking better now than when they were in the hands of the pros.